Saturday, October 22, 2011

Recipe: Yummy Hot Chocolate

It's beginning to get cold out! I love it! Almost time to curl up by the fire with a good book and  a yummy cup of hot chocolate!  Here's a really, really yummy cup of hot chocolate that is possibly the best you've ever had.  The best part is that it is a lot healthier than the powdered junk you buy at the grocery store.  This recipe gets Shane's enthusiastic seal of approval!

Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
Granulated Stevia Powder
Coconut Oil
Whole Milk

1) Heat 1 tbsp cocoa, 1 tbsp Stevia powder, and 1 tbsp coconut oil and mix until well-blended.
2) Add 1 1/2 cups of milk
3) Heat and mix until desired temperature

Optional variation:
Use honey instead of stevia and coconut oil.  I've never tried this, but I suspect it would work even better than the stevia and coconut oil.  Next time I buy honey, I'll try this and let you know how it works!  As always, go for local, unpasteurized honey for optimal nutritional value!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Milk Allergy :(

A few months ago, I slowly began realizing that Owen is allergic or sensitive to dairy.  This was a major bummer to me, because I am a big believer in consuming lots of raw diary!  We love raw milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt in our house.  He ate dairy at every meal.  The kid LOVES milk. 

How did I realize he was having problems with milk?  It's been kind of a long process.  Owen has had eczema for years, and it started getting worse at the beginning of the summer.  He started getting in his hair and all down his back.  It was keeping him up at night because it itched so badly.  I started giving him apple cider vinegar and coconut oil for the rash, which worked really well, but it wasn't really addressing the problem.  I also started noticing that he had weird emotional reactions after drinking milk.  He'd get super hyper and then crash into tantrums and violence that would not stop for like an hour.  I had no idea that you can have emotional reactions to foods you are allergic too, but it was like I was giving Owen a drug every time he drank a glass of milk.

I was very reluctant to cut out milk, because I was worried about him missing out on all that milk has to offer (calcium, fat, and saturated and omega-3 fats, among other things).  But, once I finally did it, his eczema went away almost over night.  He still has a little on his bottom, but 95% of it is completely gone.  If I really eliminated all dairy (cheese, butter, and baked goods with dairy in them), I bet that last little bit of eczema would be gone too.  To fill the big whole in his diet where I cut milk out, he's started eating a lot more eggs and I've been making soup with homemade stock several times a week, which is an excellent source of calcium.

Once I had identified the problem, I started researching allergies online.  I found some amazing things.  I learned how allergies are formed and how you can reverse and heal your allergies.  It's some pretty incredible stuff!  In my next post, I'll share some of the information I uncovered!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What We're Learning This Week - 10/2 and 10/9

What We're Learning This Week

The Week of 10/2/11
  • Lowercase Letters and the letter P
  • Pumpkin
  • The Color Orange
  • Noah's Ark 
  • 11, 12, 13
  • Moses - "I am with you always" Matthew 28:20

We had a great time with pumpkins and the color orange this week.  Owen is really picking up on his colors very well.  For the first half of the week, he called anything that was orange "pumpkin", like it was a color.  It was pretty funny.  But, he finally figured out that the color is "orange" and a pumpkin is orange.  
We also made this craft:

(This isn't a pic of the one Owen made, but the picture from the website.  Click the picture to be directed to the link.)

Owen loved it!  He wanted to peel the seeds off after we glued them off and do it again, which got me thinking that you could easily make a similar craft with different colored beads and various pictures for him to play with.  

The Week of 10/9/11
  • Lowercase Letters and the letter G
  • Pumpkins (cont.)
  • The Color Green
  • Abraham called
  • 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
  • Moses - "I am with you always" Matthew 28:20

Owen had such a good time with pumpkins this week, I decided to continue it a couple more weeks. I found a couple more crafts on Pinterest (gah, I love, love, LOVE pinterest!).  Here's a couple (click on the picture to take you to the link):

I don't have other great plans for the week.  Guess I'll just kind of wing it.  I may take Owen to the pumpkin patch this week, or we may wait until we get back from vacation next week.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'm a Hypocrite

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a real food hypocrite. I've been on this real food journey for 2 1/2 years now, and while we've made lots of improvements to our diet, there are still areas where we are not perfect or even are in direct contradiction to what I believe it best.  It's hard to kick all the bad habits!  So, here are some of the ways where I am hypocritical.

1) Conventional, store-bought butter and cheese- 
Now, while we did make the switch from margarine, I rarely buy grass-fed butter.  Why? It's like $10 for 2 lbs.  That's just really, really steep for our budget.  And, we use a lot of butter.  My eventual plan is to start making it myself.  The good cheese is also extremely expensive.  I know many would disagree, but a good quality grocery-store cheese is still better than no cheese, or fake cheese (like American sliced cheese :P).

2) Sweets - 
I love sweets, especially cookies and ice cream.  While I try to make the cookies from scratch and use better ingredients and I buy the best quality ice cream I can afford, it's still not great.  I really shouldn't eat anything with sugar in it at all.  I wish I had an ice cream maker.  I'd make some of the real stuff!  Not only do I eat sweets, but I eat too many of them as well. :(

3) Frozen Veggies -
We buy nearly all of our fruit fresh and local when possible, but I usually end up buying frozen veggies.  Next to local, fresh-frozen veggies seem to be the next best thing.  And, it's really convenient with two little kids.  I still buy some fresh and local, but at any given time I have several bags of frozen vegetables ready to be used in a pinch.

4) Diet Coke (or Diet Dr Pepper) - 
This is, by far, my worst habit.  And, I drink a lot of it! It's so, so bad, I know, but I just can't seem to give it  up. I know I'm going to get brain cancer.  I know it messes up my body.  I just have a love for it.  I need to stop.  I plan to replace the evil coke in my diet with water kefir.

5) Grocery Store Meat - 
We eat grass-fed beef and wild fish, but I have had a hard time finding good chicken or pork.  I buy the best I can find, but it's still not the best. I also buy some of the pre-marinated pork tenderloins.  Blasphemous, I know.

We've made lots of improvements, mostly homecooked, made-from-scratch meals, sourdough bread, good meats and fats, raw milk, water kefir, lots of veggies, cod liver oil, etc.  Transitioning to a real food diet can be overwhelming, and a lot of people get scared off.  Every change you make in your diet is an improvement and will better your health.  It isn't all or nothing.  We still have plenty room for improvement, but I know that each and every change we've made is better for us and our kids.

So, here's my challenge.  Make a small change today.  Switch to butter.  Cook a meal from scratch this week.  Buy whole milk instead of skim.  Buy nuts instead of chips at the store.  Every small change you make will make a small difference.  All those small changes add up to a lot!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What We're Learning This Week - 9/25-10/1

What We're Learning This Week

  • Lowercase Letters and the letter L
  • Leaves
  • The Color Yellow
  • The Story of the Cain and Abel and Baby Moses (CBS review)
  • Verse:   Mark 12:31 – “Love your neighbor as yourself.” and "I am with you always." Matt 28:20 (CBS verse)

Owen had a bit of a rough week, so we didn't spend a lot of time "doing school".  On Monday, we went to the library and picked out books about leaves.  We came home and read some of the books.  Then we glued leaves onto a drawing of a tree.  He loved that!  

I got some silk leaves at Dollar Tree that were so cute.  They were red and yellow.  We used some of them for the craft, but the rest we played a game with.  I would throw them in the air and let them fall all over Owen, and I told him that it was fall and all the leaves would fall off the trees.  Then he had a bag he had to stuff all the leaves in.  And, we talked about the color of the leaves.  

I got a book about the letter L at the library and we read that several times.  He definitely knows what L says, but I'm not sure he'd recognize a lower case l.  I think it looks too much like a 1.  

We really didn't do the Cain and Abel story and verse this week.  I think we'll continue that next week.  He's totally nailed Moses though.  He loves doing his verse!  I'm not sure how much he understands the story, but he talks about Moses all the time.  Today, he went to CBS and they continued the story of Moses.  He made a burning bush.  They sing the verse to the melody of "London Bridge".

Felt Letter Mats

I made these this week.  They are felt letter mats.  Owen LOVES them! I cut out all the upper and lower case letters and hot glued them to 1/2 size sheets of felt.  So, we've been playing games with them.  It cost about $5 to make and probably about 3 hours.  

Felt Letter Mat Game Ideas - 
1) Jump on the Letter - I call out a letter and he jumps on it, or I call out a sound and he finds the letter
2) Follow the trail - I set up a trail with the mats and Owen has to jump (can you tell we love jumping right now?) from mat to mat and say the name/sound of the letter
3) Make words - you can easily make words or blends with the mats.  

I have a feeling we'll be using these for years!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frugal Mommy Tips

Money is tight for almost everyone these days.  It's even tighter when you are trying to feed them whole, real food.  Here are a few tips I have for stretching your food dollar.

1) Instead of sticking left-overs in the refrigerator and eating them for lunch the next day, bag the left-overs into single serving portions and freeze. This turns your left-overs into convenient "frozen meals" you can send with your husband to work, eat them on the go, or just pull them out for lunch when your day has been just horrible. I find that burritos are the best thing to save this way! I make about twice as much as I plan for us to eat, then I create and freeze five or six for later.  So easy and tasty!

2) To make your ground beef go further, add 1 can of black beans to each pound of ground beef. It'll add some more nutrition to the beef and make your meat go twice as far. Plus, it's super yummy! Also a great option for burritos!

3) When making casseroles, always double the recipe and freeze half, uncooked. Then you can just pull it out and cook it anytime. This works best in a foil pan (you can get them for a $1 at Dollar Tree). Pull out the night before and let thaw in the refrigerator all day. Then cook like normal.

4) Plan meals ahead of time.  Go through your week and plan out each and every meal, including breakfasts and lunches, before going to the store.  Plan to use or freeze everything you buy.

5) Buy for one week at a time.  Okay, this is actually in direction contradiction from my usual grocery shopping plan.  After Evan was born, I started doing one major grocery shop at the beginning of the month and buying all our meat (freezing it), cheese, butter, and snacks.  It sounded like a great idea.  It definitely was a time saver.  Unfortunately, I have not found it to be the most frugal.  What happens is that you eat the food really quickly, more quickly than you would have, and then instead of having one or two days out of each week where you are low on groceries, your pantry is bare for a week.  So, you have to go back and buy more stuff, and you end up going way over budget.  So, my advice?  Buy one week at a time.  If you run out of snacks or fruit a day early, wait until your scheduled grocery shopping day and "wing it".  You'll be amazed at the meals a little resourcefulness and creativity can conjure up.

Do you have any "frugal mommy tips"? I'd LOVE to hear them.  Leave them in the comments!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Family

So, thought I'd try something a little different and write about my husband and kids.  I think they are pretty cool and deserve a blog post dedicated to them.

About Shane:

Shane and I have been married for over 5 years now.  He's awesome.  I'm pretty sure that I've never enjoyed anyone's company as much as I enjoy Shane's.  He's hilarious, and we have the best conversations.  This may surprise some of you, since he has a reputation of being somewhat quiet.  But, he's not quiet at home.  Well, I mean, he's not loud either.  But, we talk for hours and hours.  We have the same taste in books and movies, which makes hanging out a lot of fun.
Shane's Likes: 
Post-apocalyptic fiction (movies, TV shows, books), learning (about something in excruciatingly precise detail),  reading instruction manuals (seriously, he has to read a manual before he will touch whatever the manual is to), cookies and ice cream, photography, 3D animation, graphic design, video games (his most annoying "like"), reading books (so carefully that they are almost memorized), driving really safely, music, bass playing, song writing
Shane's Dislikes:
Asparagus, reality TV, most TV shows, romantic comedies, super loud people (how he married me, I have no idea), being early somewhere, construction work, salty food
Something you may not know about Shane:
Well, for one, he's brilliant, but that might not surprise most people who know him.  He was on a commercial once.  It used to air during The 700 Club.  When we dated, I'd watch it every day to see his commercial.

About Owen:

Owen is my oldest son.  He's almost 2 1/2, and he's a big handful! He's strong-willed, independent, loud, super smart (especially with electronics), and loves to learn.  He already knows all his letters and sounds, and he's learning to read right now.  Getting him to sit still is near about impossible.
Owen's Likes:
Music, electronics, cell phones, computers, Blue's Clues, the song "Manefesto" by The City Harmonic, frogs, cats, playing outside, playing with daddy, playing on the piano, singing, cookies, eggs, cheese, reading in his room at night, brushing his teeth, taking showers, going to church, seeing my family, seeing Shane's family
Owen's Dislikes:
Obeying, listening, sitting still, being in his car seat, eating dinner, going to Walmart (he groans as we enter the parking lot), going to the Dr, not being allowed to touch the computer, Evan touching his stuff
Something you may not know about Owen:
Owen is strangely and ridiculously polite. Seriously, it's odd.  He says "thank you" and "please" constantly.  You say, "Here, Owen, please throw this in the trash for mommy." He says, "Thank you!" and takes the trash.  He loves to do household chores too.  I'm thrilled, but I don't think I can take any credit.

About Evan:

Evan is my youngest son.  He's 10 months old, and he's totally, totally different from Owen.  He loves to be held, and he loves to cuddle.  He wants to play with people more than he wants to play with toys.  He's a super fast crawler, and his favorite game is crawl really fast and let Owen chase him, or vice versa.
Evan's Likes:
Cuddling, music, cheerios, bananas, beef, yogurt, cars, a certain stuffed monkey, Elmo, his daddy, playing with Owen, waving "hello", saying "mama" and "dada"
Evan's Dislikes:
Owen pushing him over, Owen taking his toy, Owen blocking his way, being in a car seat, having his diaper changed, me leaving him, me not picking him up while I'm cooking dinner
Something you may not know about Evan:
He's extremely strong and always has been.  When I was pregnant with him, he killed me daily.  Seriously, he would kick and it looked like someone was poking a pencil through my shirt.  He is ridiculously strong.  Owen better watch his back.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumn (aka Cold and Flu Season)

Fall is my favorite season.  I love the way the air feels and smells.  I love the apples and pumpkins.  I love the changing foliage and falling leaves.  I love Thanksgiving.  I love that the sun doesn't come up until after 7am (which means that Owen sleeps a little later in the morning).  But, there's one thing I hate, hate about this time of year.  Everyone's children are sick!

Honestly, it makes me not want to leave the house.  I just want to stay at home with my hand sanitizer and a bottle of lysol, hiding away from all those evil little germs.  But, since this is impractical (and might drive me slowly insane), I've come up with a nutritional defense plan to fight off the germs and keep us all mostly healthy!  Since the season of disease is just starting, I can't yet vouch for its effectiveness, but I can and will keep everyone posted.

Step #1 - Eat Healthy
Okay, so this one is kind of obvious, but it is the first step.  A healthy diet, full of fruits, veggies, grass-fed and free-range meat and eggs and dairy, and fish is going to be your basis for a healthy immune system.  Think of it this way.  Every single cell in your body was created from what you put in your mouth.  Are those white blood cells going to be their strongest if they are made up from potato chips? Probably not.

One of the biggest enemies of your immune system is sugar.  Sugar depresses your immune system.  It keeps it from running on all cylinders.  Avoiding sugar is probably the best single thing you can do to boost your immune system.  This means not just avoiding sweet snacks, but cutting out all white flour products (which your body reacts to just like sugar) and limiting other highly-processed carbs, like potato chips.  This foods are going to slow down your immune system and make it much less effective.  This is mainly because of the effect of insulin on your white cell production, from what I understand.  But, sugar also compromises the flora in your colon and allows bacteria to flourish there.  Which leads me to point number 2.

Step #2 - Load up on Probiotics
Up to 85% of your immunity is in your colon.  Keeping a healthy gut is essential to a healthy immune system (and probably to mental well-being also).  Let me give you a little explanation of the way the gut works.  (Now, I'm no expert, but this is from what I understand.)  Your colon has a lining of healthy bacteria that protects your body from viruses, parasites, and bad bacteria.  Without that healthy bacterial lining, these invaders easily cross from your colon into your blood stream, causing all sorts of problems.  When you eat poorly, have a diet lacking these good bacteria, or are on an antibiotic, your gut flora becomes compromised.  

So, where can you gets these little creatures that your gut needs? Lots of places.  Probably the least beneficial option is through supplements at the health food store.  They usually only have one or two strains you needs, and you'll pay a lot for them (like $30-50 for a month-long supply for just one person).

Yogurt is a fantastic option, but be wary of sweetened yogurt.  Like I said, sugar damages your immune system, so it isn't really helping anything.  You can buy plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with some fruit or fruit juice. My kids like apple sauce mixed into theirs.  Real the labels, however.  Some of the cheaper brands will only contain one strain of bacteria, while others will have as many as five.  Go for the higher number.

Raw milk has probiotics (as does breast milk, which is one reason why infants have a heightened immune system).  

The best option we've found for getting lots of probiotics is kefir.  Now, many of you have never heard of this before.  Let me explain.  Kefir is a probiotic drink made by letting "grains" of probiotics and yeast sit in either milk or water for a period of time.  Milk kefir is much like yogurt, only runnier and less sweet.  I tried making milk kefir and I was a complete failure at it, so I tried my hand at water kefir.  Water kefir is an effervescent (aka fizzy), probiotic drink, made from kefir grains and sugar water.  I'll post longer about this another time, but basically it tastes like homemade soda with a thousand variations and flavors.  It's almost free to make, and it's quite tasty.  Since we started drinking it about a month ago, none of us has been sick.  I'm hoping that's a good sign.  I've read that kefir contains as many as 30 different strains of probiotic bacteria and yeast.  Thirty! You can buy water kefir grains from Cultures for Health and start making it yourself!

Step #3 - Cod Liver Oil
So, our last step in our plan is to take lots of cod liver oil.  We have some chewable cod liver oil tablets that Owen loves.  Evan gets a 1/2 teaspoon of the liquid stuff.  Lots of vitamins A and D.  People have been swearing by the stuff for centuries, and who am I to argue?

Step #4 - Bone Broths
Bone broths are made from cooking bones in water for several hours, allowing the vitamins and nutrients to be released into the water.  Chicken stock, beef stock, and fish stock are all bone broths.  These real stocks cannot be purchased from the store.  The store bought stuff is not real and usually contains MSG.  They aren't hard to make though and are certainly worth the nutritional benefit, which includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sulfate, fluoride, collagen, and more! (In fact, ladies, there's even been research that the collagen in bone broths will reduce and remove cellulite! I'm serious! I've read about several people who have tried it successfully.)  Google "bone broth" and you'll be able to find countless recipes.  Use it as stock in soup recipes.  Chicken stock is called "Jewish Penicillin", because of its miraculous effects on fighting off colds and influenza.    

So, we'll see how this works!  Like I said, we've been healthy now for a month, ever since we started drinking the kefir.  That's pretty exciting.  Owen usually stays sick this time of year.  Post about water kefir coming soon!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Real Food Recipe: Parmesan Fish Sticks

Being from Louisiana, I can't imagine life without seafood, but, much to my dismay, I married a man from Georgia who couldn't stand the stuff.  I still can't wrap my mind around how anyone could dislike seafood, but, alas, he did not.  He had some lame excuse about food poisoning or seasickness or something like that.  Since I could not live my life without seafood, I started cooking it and trying to find ways that he would eat it, and I actually found some ways he would eat it.  He didn't like "fishy" fish, so milder tasting fish like tilapia was a huge hit.  He liked it "blackened", which is a fine reason for me to bomb something with Cajun seasoning.  I could occasionally get him to eat salmon, but it was a little too fishy for his palate.  Eventually, I also got him to try and enjoy shrimp, alligator, and, yes, even the occasional crawfish (as long as he never ever saw it in its shell, and it was cooked into a pasta or something).

Owen, on the other hand, has always loved fish.  When he would eat no other meat, he'd gladly eat a plate full of fish.  How he distinguished fish from other white meats, I'm not sure, but he has always loved fish.  

This is one reason why I was so excited to come across this recipe for homemade fish sticks.  Not only are the delicious and healthy, but they are also super convenient.  I frequently make a large batch and freeze them, pulling them out for lunch during the week.  Owen and Shane *love* them.  One of my favorite recipes!
(Picture taken from, from where the recipe was adapted.)

Parmesan Fish Sticks

1 lb Fish Filets (a mild-tasting fish works best)
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (freshly and finely grated works best)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I make mine from my homemade sourdough bread.  See directions below.)
Seasonings of choice (I like a little garlic and cajun seasoning)


Tip: If you are using fresh fish, I'd recommend freezing for an hour or two before beginning.  If you are using frozen fish, thaw almost completely, but not totally, before beginning.  Leaving the fish a little frozen makes them easier to cut and keeps a nicer "fish stick" shape.
  1. Cut fish into small strips.
  2. Marinade in buttermilk for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. In a bowl, combine Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, salt and season to taste.
  4. Preheat oven to 425.  Thoroughly grease baking sheet.
  5. Remove fish strips, letting excess buttermilk drip off, and coat in Parmesan/bread crumb mixture, pressing the coating into the fish to make sure that it's stuck really well.  Place onto baking sheet.
  6. Once all the fish sticks are on the pan, place in oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and finished on the inside.  
  7. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  8. Serve with marinara! 

*Breadcrumb directions: Cut up some stale sourdough, put in food processor, and blend until crumbs.  Cook in the oven at 350 until toasty.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Common Sense Disclaimer


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Best Way to Buy a Chicken

I am constantly trying to figure out how to stretch my "food dollar".  Honestly, it's not going very far these days.    It's even harder when you try to cook real, whole foods while sticking to a budget.  Some things are much more expensive then the "broken food" substitutes.  Raw milk cost 40% more than pasteurized.  Butter is like 250% more than margarine.  (Of course, the cost difference is nothing compared to the quality difference, which is why you should try to always use whole foods, even if they are more expensive.  They are far more nutritionally dense.)  

But, once in a while, a whole food shines through in the darkness and proves cheaper than the broken food.  Such is the case with the Whole Chicken.  

I'm sure you've seen this strange thing that actually resembles an animal in the grocery store and wondered what it was.  It resembles the turkey we eat at Thanksgiving.  But, it's smaller.  Yes, it is a chicken.  A whole chicken.  If you are lucky, there are even organ meats and giblets inside the cavity.  And, yes, you have to pull those bad boys out with your bare hands.  

The whole chicken is possibly the cheapest way to buy chicken.  A whole chicken is usually about $5 if you buy a regular one from the grocery store.  A pastured one will be more like $10.  If buying the whole chicken freaks you out, you can buy a cut-up whole chicken for only a little more.  Chicken breasts are going to cost twice the cost of a whole chicken per pound, at least.  Plus, they are far less nutritious than meat found in other parts of the chicken. 

Not only is the whole chicken inexpensive, it is also the most nutritious way to buy a chicken.  You have those organ meats included, if you'd like to eat them.  In addition to the meat, you have skin and bone, both very nutritious. 

It is also the most useful way to buy a chicken.  You can do so many things with a whole chicken.  You can roast it, grill it, fry it, slow cook it, make chicken stock, and I'm sure a many of other things.  

The most cost-effective way I've found to use a chicken is to make stock, then use the meat in another recipe.  Tonight, I used a $5 chicken to make about 3 quarts of stock and two meals worth of chicken.  Bone broth (chicken stock, among others) is ridiculously nutritious.  You really "milk" the entire chicken for all its nutrients. Specifically, it's rich in calcium.  Races that are especially sensitive to dairy traditionally consume large amounts of bone broth (particularly Asian cultures) as their source for dietary calcium.  

So, for $5, I can make a nutritionally rich base for soups and have two meals worth of meat.  Can't do much better than that! Plus, we're entering into soup season. 

To read more about chicken stock, bone broth, and to find out how to make your own, check out the Weston A. Price website.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What We're Learning This Week - 9/18-24

What We're Learning This Week

  • Short vowel sounds review and the letter B
  • Apples
  • The Color Red
  • The Story of the Fall (Gen 3) and Baby Moses (CBS review)
  • Verse: "Love the Lord with all your heart." Luke 10:27, "I am with you always." Matt 28:20 (CBS verse)

We had a great time last week! This week, we started off with a bang.  Today we painted red apples on pictures of tree and finger-painted a picture of an apple, we colored a baby Moses picture and reviewed his story and verse from CBS, we went on a "red" scavenger hunt, and we practiced our letter sounds this am during Evan's nap.  Lots of fun!

We also started CBS last week, which is Community Bible Study.  Owen gets a Bible Story and verse from his class every week.  We're incorporating that into our lesson plan.  So, basically, we'll have two Bible stories and verses every week.

I plan to either go pick apples this week with Owen (our theme for this week is "Apples") or we may just go to the produce stand and pick out some apples.  They always have about 10 different varieties.  I'll probably let him help me make an apple pie later this week too.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What We're Learning This Week - 9/11-17

What We're Learning This Week
  • Short Vowel Sounds/Lower-case vowels: a, e, i, o, u
  • Counting to 5 on our fingers
  • The Color Blue
  • The Story of Creation - "God Made Everything"
  • Verse: "This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 ESV

So, I'm toying with the idea of home-schooling.  Not sure if we will, but I want to add some structure to Owen's day and be more intentional with what he's learning at home.  On days we are home during Evan's morning nap (usually only two morning a week), we spend 5 minutes practicing "reading".  He really, really wants to learn to read.  He keeps asking me what words mean, and he's just flat memorized several words from seeing them on things.  He knows all his letters and letter sounds already too.  So, as long as he's interested, I want to practice sitting still (an important skill for Owen to learn!) and spend a few minutes reading together.  

I feel like he's at the age where he can learn and enjoys "stories", so I want to be intentional with teaching him a Bible story every week.  We're about to start Community Bible Study again, and they will be supplying a curriculum for this when he goes on Thursdays, so I'll follow that.

Ideas for this week -

  1. Blue's Clues cookies
  2. A scavenger hunt for blue things
  3. Note-card game with short vowel sounds
  4. Reading in different kid Bibles every day the creation story.
  5. Read book about Bible verse
  6. Talk about all the things God made
  7. Glue cut-out pictures for a collage of things God made.
  8. Play Blue's Clues around the house with cut-out paw prints

(I'll be posting about schooling more in depth soon!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's for Breakfast?

I've got to be honest and say that I haven't always been a big breakfast person.  In fact, I'm not really one now.  I like to get up and go in the morning, and between feeding both the kids and my husband, getting everyone else up and running, I sometimes forget to eat breakfast.  Usually, my quick go-to breakfast is a piece of homemade sourdough, with lots of butter and maybe a little jelly on it.  If I think ahead of time, I'll add some eggs to that.  Most of you probably eat a pretty quick breakfast.  In fact, probably the biggest determining factor for your breakfast choice is it's convenience.  But, convenient is not usually the best.

We get a lot of bad info about what we should be eating in the mornings.  Do we eat a big breakfast that will  fill us up? A low-fat breakfast to "trim our waistline" (yeah, right)? Skip breakfast all together (who has time)?  We hear that we should eat eat eggs.  Wait, don't eat eggs, they have too much cholesterol.  Oh, no, do eat eggs, people who eat eggs have fewer heart attacks.  Wait, just the egg white.  Nope, just the yolk.  Who can navigate the info?

I was just reading a fantastic article by WAPF about breakfast choices.  Here's an excerpt from "Morning Nourishment: Bountiful Benefits and Creative Ideas" about what we should be eating for breakfast:


Breakfast can be as simple or involved as you like, but there are four rules that should be followed:
1. Fat and protein should be the featured nutrients. For most people, a carbohydrate-loaded breakfast based on vegetable juices, fruits, grains, flour and sugar doesn’t offer enough nutritional bang to get the day off to a good start. Breakfast-candidate foods (preferably produced through non-toxic, pastured-based agriculture) well-endowed with protein and fat include eggs, meats, fish, full-fat dairy foods such as yogurt or kefir, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, lard, butter and avocados. Once these fats and proteins are decided on, fruits, vegetables, tubers and whole grains make a wonderful side note.
2. Make at least a portion of breakfast food easily digestible through soaking grains, sour leavening of flours for breads, culturing dairy products, or fermenting fruits and vegetables. In Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon Morell reminds us that, “Almost everywhere in the world people ate fermented foods on a daily basis. They often ate them for breakfast, no doubt because after a night of sleep the body needs something that is rapidly and easily digested.”20
3. Don’t rush! Get yourself in the habit of going to sleep early enough to allow time in the morning to relax through your morning meal.
4. Plan ahead. Know what you will have tomorrow, whether it is going to be a beautifully laid out fare with flowers and a table cloth or something you throw together in under two minutes.
(There are lots of great recipes and breakfast ideas in the above article.  You should check it out!)

So, what do I feed my kids for breakfast? Usually, Owen eats fat/protein as the  main staple (just like WAP suggests).  It's usually cheese, eggs, or yogurt.  It's usually coupled with a lot of fruit.  He LOVES fruit, and I'd say half his fruit for the day is from breakfast.  Then, sometimes he eats a "sour leavened" side - a homemade sourdough muffin, piece of sourdough, or homemade buttermilk biscuit.  He was getting a large glass of raw milk to go with it, but we're currently eliminating milk from his diet, because of a possible milk allergy/sensitivity.  So, now, he gets a cup of water kefir.

For info on the history of breakfast in America, check out this great article on "the corporate scam" that is breakfast.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hello, Strangers!

Soooo, it's been a while since I posted.  That's because I had a baby in November, and newborns are time consuming.  But, I'm back now and ready to post about food again!  In the past year, I've started making bread, real bread, sourdough bread.  And, oh it's soooooo good.  I love it.  I've also started experimenting with water kefir.  That's fairly new, so I'm still trying to figure all that out.  I've been reading about the GAPS diet, candida overgrowth, and allergies.  I have lots and lots to post about!

I'm also going to start posting more about my kids and family.  God is teaching me a lot these days, and I'm excited to share what I've been learning.

So, look for more posts soon!